Cuba Photo Tour: Heart and Soul of Cuba

Tour Intro

Winter 2021 Program, Dates and Pricing To Be Announced

This is a licensed 'People-to-People' program, which includes daily activities, immersing you in the heart and soul of Cuba. From the hustle and bustle of Santiago de Cuba, and Old Havana, to the more remote and colorful Spanish Village of Baracoa, along the Atlantic Coast.

Visualize the appeal of this country that has been closed off to Americans for decades. Allow Karen and Joel to bring you to the photo ops and assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing place and its people through your lens.

Wander and explore with your photo instructors, for FIVE days in Eastern Cuba, where you will photograph environmental portraits, as well as the architecture, and seascapes. Eastern Cuba has predominantly far less tourism than the now very popular west side. Start in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest bustling city. It has different cultural influences than Havana including African, French, and Chinese. We’ll photograph the architecture of Parque Cespedes, and picturesque local neighborhoods surrounding it. Photograph the lively musicians and dancers by the glow of the street lamps. Take a side trip to visit the near by village of El Cobre with its beautiful cathedral. Those interested in the history of the revolution can take time to visit one of the many museums in Santiago or the Castillo del Morro (fortress). From Santiago we move on to the magic of nature, in Baracoa, which is surrounded by forest and sea…. keeping its people more removed from modern influences, yet preserving the ecosystem and maintaining their traditions.

An internal flight has been included, taking the group to Havana to complete your tour in Old Havana. Havana is amazing in its own right with the antique vehicles passing you by and the amazing opportunities of photographing environmental portraits each day. Your local guide will have daily educational discussions about the East and West of Cuba, regarding the culture, history and nature. The people of Cuba are friendly and open, you will find so many wonderful faces to photograph. There are those in Havana that earn a living this way and those that are just as pleased to be photographed looking for nothing in return.

In addition, Karen and Joel will offer visual presentations and discussions highlighting the development of personal vision and awareness, and show how light, color, composition, gesture and 'the moment' contribute to the success of a photograph. There will also be opportunities to have photo reviews of your images, so everyone can share and learn from each other, or private photo reviews can be arranged. Both Karen and Joel are passionate iPhoneographers and during your tour will offer optional creative iPhoneography instruction. Our goal is to make this tour enjoyable and fun for both serious and casual photographers!

From Karen: "I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create. The more we learn to 'see' with our mind, heart and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes."

Tour Highlights

• Photo Education with both Karen & Joel Schulman.
• Program cost includes internal Cuba flight, traveling East to West, and EIGHT NIGHTS in Cuba.
• Photographic subjects include musical sessions, portraits of friendly local faces, architecture, fishing villages, and of course antique cars.
• Photograph the sights and sounds of Santiago de Cuba, from the main square of Parque Cespedes to the local neighborhood flare.
• Spend two evenings in the colonial town of Baracoa on Cuba’s Northeastern Atlantic coast. Meet and interact with people’s lives on the streets of this remote and distinct village.
• Explore the colorful architecture, textures and details of Old Havana, designated an UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Panorama sunset views of Morro Cabana harbor & skyline of Havana.

Tour Itinerary

January 31: Home
Man On Step, Trinidad

Photo By: Joel Schulman

Photo Location: Trinidad, Cuba

Itinerary and pricing being developed. It may be necessary to overnight in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami before the tour begins tomorrow.

February 1-3: Eastern Cuba - Santiago

Depart on a flight to the ‘second’ city of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba (time to be announced). Eastern Cuba is known as the Oriente, built on the sagas of historical rebellion and revolution. It is the birthplace of Fidel Castro and his revolution and has been influenced by the French, African, and Caribbean creole, as well as, the Spaniards. Upon arrival in Santiago, the group will travel by private bus to your hotel, followed by an introductory tour in the historic district around the Parque de Cespedes. Santiago’s most notable buildings line the square providing wonderful architecture photography of its varied international influences. One of the most notable was built in the early 1500’s, Casa de Diego Velazquez, a Spanish conquistador’s former residence, now a historical museum of Cuba. There will be a welcome dinner this evening followed by rooftop photography from the terrace of the hotel, where you can listen to the city come alive with the music from Casa de la Trova. Just east of the square, photograph the less touristy Parque Dolores, the square is surrounded by wrought-iron adorned buildings, and also just south are the Steps of Padre Pico, with its mighty steps leading to a very picturesque quarter.

Enjoy early morning photography sessions in the city the next two days, returning to the hotel for breakfast. We'll also have sunset photo sessions and evening photography on the streets of the city, with music drifting out of clubs and homes alike. The option to visit a club for music in the evening is also possible.                         

A trip to Eastern Cuba would not be complete with out a visit to the near by village of El Cobre, about 12 miles out side the city. It is most famous for its cream colored basilica, a national monument built in 1926, Nuestra Caridad del Cobre. Not far from here is the mausoleum of Jose Marti, where there will be a changing of the guard ceremony. Jose was one of Latin America’s most famous poet and writers, and he is haled to be the father of Cuban independence. He lived in exile for many years in NY as a foreign correspondent in the 1880’s-90’s, returning to Cuba in 1895 leading an insurrection against the Spanish government. He died on the battlefield three years before Spain lost its last colony.

The following morning depart for colorful fishing villages along the coast and take the ferry to Cayo Granma, a small island in the bay, where you can photograph the local fishermen, red roof buildings, and quiet streets. Photograph  the San Pedro de la Roco Castle, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort hosts a firing of the canon ceremony each evening at dusk. There may be time for optional excursion to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, which is home to many of Cuba’s famous military figures, including the Mausoleum of Jose Marti. Cuban revolutionary buffs may want to take a couple hours one afternoon to visit Cuartel Moncada, it describes the history of Cuba from 1500’s onward. The building was the site of July 26, 1953 carnival celebrations, where Fidel, Raul, and Che attacked the concrete barracks in an attempt seize weapons. Overnight Santiago (D; B, L; B)

February 4-5: Baracoa

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you take a drive to the north east coast and the much more remote Baracoa. Baracoa means ‘nature’ as the Cubans say, and it is surrounded by tropical forest, and the sea. This has historically isolated the people to rely on fishing, cocoa, coconuts, bananas, and gathering wood, providing visitors with unique opportunities to photograph people and their daily lives.
Wander down the Malecon, which connects the two 19th-century forts, Fuerte Matachin and Fuerte de la Punta. You'll have two full days in Baracoa to explore this quaint colonial village with its colorful homes, shops, and children playing, along with a visit to the natural areas outside of town to photograph the flat top of El Yunque, the local beaches and seascapes. Overnight Baracoa (B, L; B)

February 6-8: Havana
Havana, 1940's Auto

Photo By: Karen Schulman

Photo Location: Havana, Cuba

There will be a flight this morning from Guantanamo Airport to Havana (included in the land cost). Upon arrival your guide will orient you to the highlights of Old Havana on a walking tour. As you stroll the streets, you will be overwhelmed with all the things to photograph, from the antique American cars, children playing in the streets or in abandoned lots; from the beautifully restored hotels to the paint peeling off dilapidated buildings. Havana’s architecture is the most beautiful in the various plazas, where locals and tourists congregate to share stories. 

Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Cathedral, Plaza Vieja, and Plaza de San Francisco, are a few that are within walking distance. You will be able to return late at night while music fills the air, or early in the morning to photograph as the streets come to life again.

In 1982, Old Havana was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with lots of chances to take advantage of a myriad of photo ops.

After early morning shoots on foot to the local markets and shops, return to your hotel for breakfast, then meet your guide to visit La Torre (the tower) with a bird’s eye view of the harbor and city. Morro Cabana (fortress) just across the harbor provides another perspective of the waves crashing on the lighthouse and fortress, along with the skyline of Havana. 

There will be free time in the late afternoons, to walk the Prada, or Malecon along the harbor. There are also a few hotels in Old Havana in which you can capture incredible panoramic city views at sunrise or sunset from their rooftop bars, such as Inglaterra, Parque Central, or Saratoga, etc.  Overnight Havana (B, L; B; B, D)

February 9: Home
Women Baskets, Havana

Photo By: Joel Schulman

Photo Location: Havana, Cuba

There will be a transfer to Havana airport for your trip home (exact time to be announced). Confirm with Strabo Tours, prior to booking flights. Be sure to leave three hours between flights if you are making a connection. This will all be worked out when we are closer to our workshop date. (B)

The Cuban Casa: On some tours, students have had the opportunity to stay overnight in a typical Cuban casa. These are like our B&B’s in that you will have a private room & bath and wonderful hosts who will prepare breakfast for you. Should accommodations change you will find this homey atmosphere will give you a unique opportunity to get to know a family and perhaps photograph them, their home interiors and their pets. We have found these people to be quite gracious and helpful as we are treated with tender care and respect. It is a wonderful real Cuban experience away from the usual large hotel environment. Participants should know that Cuba is a special destination.

Photo Leader

Karen & Joel Schulman
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Karen & Joel Schulman

Karen and Joel have been working in the photographic field for over 35 years and are both accomplished professional photographers. Karen is a skilled and sensitive photographic artist and educator and during our tour will share ideas and knowledge to help you create great travel photographs, whether you are using a DSLR or an iPhone! Joel is an expert in the digital imaging world and has done photographic printing for some of the most notable names in fine art photography. He will share his knowledge of both the technical and creative aspects of the photographic medium.

In addition, Karen and Joel will offer visual presentations and discussions highlighting the development of personal vision and awareness, and show how light, color, composition, gesture and 'the moment' contribute to the success of a photograph. There will also be opportunities to have photo reviews of your images, so everyone can learn and share from each other, or private photo reviews can be arranged. Both Karen and Joel are passionate iPhoneographers and during your tour will offer optional creative iPhoneography instruction. Our goal is to make this tour enjoyable and fun for both serious and casual photographers!

From Karen: "I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create. The more we learn to 'see' with our mind, heart and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes."

Links above are for Karen, If you wish to review Joel's work or contact him: www.photographicsart.com, joel@photographicsart.com

Many thanks to you both for helping us discover Cuba; it was such a rich and exotic experience! We will enjoy the memories and the photos for many years to come. 

Lana and Joe

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Many thanks to you both for helping us discover Cuba; it was such a rich and exotic experience! We will enjoy the memories and the photos for many years to come. 

Lana and Joe

Strabo’s trip to Cuba will be one you will never forget. There are photo ops galore. While Cuba may be economically deprived, it is culturally rich.

Janice

The Cuba trip was absolutely amazing!!!  Joel and Karen did a great job of balancing our interests with those of the more serious, photographers in our group.  The entire trip was very relaxed, with just the right balance of structure, sightseeing, and socializing.  The entire group got along very well, and our guide, Leonel was a tremendous resource!  Our driver, Jose, could not have been better. 

T. Schwall

Additional Notes

Participants should know that Cuba is a special destination. Please understand that all elements of the itinerary are subject to change and that activities listed are examples of opportunities that may present themselves. Since the program is authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department, we have to abide by any changes to regulations that may take place. Please remain flexible as these circumstances are beyond our control. Be assured that all efforts will be made to provide a comparable alternative should an item on our itinerary need to be changed.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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